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Herbert Brandl - Charging pictures until they (almost) burst.

Category: Portrait 26. January 2012

Libidinally charged works of the last 3 decades by Herbert Brandl are presented by Florian Steininger and Ingried Brugger in the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien. CastYourArt visited the artist at his atelier and produced an artist-portrait. Watch now ...

The images constantly seduce the gaze, captivate it and invite the viewer to transcend the pictorial surface, look behind it in order to discover the spaces opening up within their –our- interior.
Brandl does not start his work on the basis of reality in order to abstract from it, he rather develops a pictorial grammar of perception –feelings or thoughts- and avails himself of the musical vocabulary of colour and of the personal expressive panache as trademark.

However, he counterbalances and controls this approach by the structure of his composition and a certain irony. He systematically measures the contrast between emotion ands reflection. Problems related to the perception of space are dealt with, depth without the rivalry of perspective and illusion but nevertheless within the vocabulary of abstraction. He completes the meaningful content with his associations to other contemporary or traditional pictorial languages.
All this without denying the character of his imagery, the surfaces painted by vigorous strokes, the texture, the masterful chromatic induction permitting him to create art like primitive man, who creates a radically sensual material world with his own hands.

In Brandls pictures forceful fillings and dense strokes contrast with a smooth blurriness reminding a veiling, evoking a sense of lightness and transparency and conveying the presence of other layers of light and colour within the deeper realms of the image.
Some of the works constitute quasi pictorial texts, formed by the artist through a network of textures and surfaces, and enriched by the incision of the brush into the ductile material, leaving enigmatic messages. In spite of their informalism, the images act like symbolic approximations to the landscape. Shades of grey and yellow protruding into dark spaces remind of nocturnal landscapes, blazing red specks bring volcanic eruptions to mind, apparent fissures evoke aerial photographs of rivers or cartographic images.
The transparencies and veilings behave like a sunblind, letting traces of other colours shine through as if they were hints to an opening of a parallel world.
Two elements, the abstract and the representational coexist on the same canvas and do not interpenetrate; each one keeps its relative, not absolute, autonomy in order to make way for the ambiguous play of he visual suspense.

This incongruence and the contradiction existing between the elements is intentional - and necessary to generate and animate their relationship.

These correlations operate in a symbolic and libidinal way within the images, as well as other formal contents which interact and can be combined as a visual or interpretative antithesis.

On this level the enormous energetic charge, dense and luminous, comes to the fore.

The perspective of the retained libidinous energies is a reference to a remote affinity of Brandl’s Art to certain traditions of Chinese painting and some recurrent approaches of contemporary western interpretation of Japanese art, based on the influences of informal art, the material and the dense textures.

A kind of imaginary regression to a cultural nakedness emerges, a disrobement of symbolic contexts – in order not to simply imagine a naked corporeality that invites us to identify ourselves with the work through the intimity of our own nakjed body.

It is ultimately a question of controlling the drives, avoiding them to overflow, containing them to the point where the whole arrangement is on the verge of exploding. Subtly, almost imperceptibly, we are relieved of hidden repressions. (written by Cem Angeli)

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